Thanks to Nick Fawcett for this prayer which sums up something of how I am feeling this week:
“Gracious God, when life is testing and your purpose is hard to fathom, help me to remember that you are able to see me through. When I feel overwhelmed by the challenge before me, yet so nowhere and no one to turn to, remind me to reach out to you, knowing that whenever I need you, you will be there. Teach me that with you, no situation is beyond hope, and that no darkness can ever fully extinguish the light, and in that confidence may I walk each day in faith, to the glory of your name. Amen.”
Tonight I am off to a murder mystery evening. I have never been to one before but I know that someone will be killed, yet at the end of the evening they will be back to take their bow- it is make believe, the death will not really happen and we will all be just acting out a story for a purpose. Today is Holy Saturday-Christ is dead in the tomb, the disciples are bereft, and the world is ignorant of hope. We sit here over 2,000 years later and we know how the story ends and, because we do, there is a real danger that we fail to forget the significance of the day in between – the time he was dead and all hope was dead, the mission was over. To the people and the disciples and to the religious leaders of the day Jesus had failed to bring in the new kingdom he talked about and was no different to any other holy man or prophet that had been before. As Nick Fawcett’s entry for Easter Eve in his book Daily Prayer says; ” Jesus was dead…He was laid limp and lifeless in a tomb, and a stone rolled against the entrance. Humanly speaking it was over, the end of a wonderful ministry and an unforgettable man. He had shared our life; he had shared our death. If the story was to continue, it was out of human hands- it was down to God.”
The mystery of what Christ achieved in death I will leave to the theologians, but Tarjei Park suggested in his reflection of the crucifixion; “He was crucified, dead, and buried: He descended into hell. What was Jesus doing in hell? He was looking for his friend Judas Iscariot. Judas had done something so wrong he could not forgive himself, and feeling incapable of being forgiven, in bitter tears of regret, he hanged himself. Well, Jesus went looking for him, and in hell he found him. He walked over to him and kissed him, and took his hand. Miracles occur in hell.”
Inscribed on a cellar wall in Cologne where some Jews has hidden for the entire duration of the Second World War were these lines:
I believe in the sun, even when it doesn’t shine. I believe in love, even when I don’t feel it. I believe in God, even when He is silent.
On that first Easter eve ,God fell very silent and many wondered if they would ever here from him again. No word, no sign, no hope.
The more I watch this lovely poem from Jude Simpson the more it moves me. Does this say anything to you about Jesus the bringer of hope? See also http://www.hopeinfo.co.uk/
Filed under Hope, Jesus, poetry
This week we have seen the trial of Jake Fahri, accused of the murder of Jimmy Mizen a 16 year old schoolboy- who died on his way to buy his first lottery ticket. The Old Bailey court heard the prosecution case of how Jimmy and his brother were harassed by Fahri and that in the ensuing assault Jimmy lost his life when glass from a bowl Fahir threw cut into Jimmy’s neck and he bled to death. Some months ago I had the privilege of being part of a team that developed a short film in which Jimmy’s parents and older brother share their love for Jimmy and how their faith has helped them begin to cope with this dreadful tragedy. They share their story in three and a half minutes- the same time the incident took which ended Jimmy’s life a day after his sixteenth birthday.
I love how Brian McLaren explains what it means to be a Christian. See if you think this makes as much sense as I do: